Leon Emo/The Madera Tribune/file
With the traditional and honorary initial lap, cancer survivors parade around the track after ceremonies that opened this year’s Relay For Life held in 2017 at Lions Town and Country Park. This year’s event is set for Saturday.
The last few weeks purple ribbons have been tied to trees and light poles along the heavily traveled roads in Madera. More than half a year in the making, the Madera Relay for Life is taking over Lions Town and Country Park on Howard Road on Saturday.
Originally founded in 1985 in Washington State, this is Madera’s 22nd annual event raising money to fund research. Teams of warriors will be raising money to fight cancer.
“We have 47 teams comprised of up to 20 people each,” said Charlotte Brewer financial manager for the project. “Our goal is to raise $100,000.”
The 24-hour campout is using the theme “May the fourth be with you.” Participants usually decorate their campsites and dress in costumes relating to the theme. Star Wars fans should see some interesting homages to their favorite film, she said.
Every half hour between 9 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. carries its own suggested motif. Each team should have one of its members walking around the track at all times throughout the event.
The event begins with a survivors’ lap, followed by a caregiver lap and a sponsors lap.
One of the most impressive activities is the lighting of the Luminaria.
“We should have 5,000 bags each bearing the name of those lost to cancer and those who have survived it,” she said.
A glow stick in each bag will make for a dramatic sight after dark.
An event the size and scope of this one takes the participation of a lot of sponsors. Local business people have generously donated the use of goods and services to support the project.
The City of Madera has been instrumental in arranging the use of the park and the manpower to help where needed. U.S. Rentals donated the use of several generators and diesel-powered lights. Midland Tractor has loaned a number of their Gator ATVs. Central Valley Community Bank has arranged for the use of a recreational vehicle to serve as an on-site office and counting room. Grocery Outlet has donated water, snacks and sunscreen.
At midnight Steve and Sally Frazier of Papa Murphy’s Pizza is providing the food for a pizza party.
This is a personal gesture as Steve is a cancer survivor himself. The Evening Lions Club will provide breakfast on Sunday morning.
The purple ribbons will be removed by a group of high school divers from Coach Lisa Lopez Bennett’s team. They should come down within a week or so after the event, Brewer said.
The family-friendly event prohibits alcohol and tobacco use. Also, no pets allowed. There are activities for the kids and food available. A number of Opportunity Baskets will be awarded. Tickets are $1 each, six for $5 and an arm’s length for $20.
A special thank you to The Madera Tribune and advertising executive Corrie Valdez for her help placing the event in the Hot Dates column, Brewer said.
Open to the public, admission is free.